Changes in Choice Reaction Time During and After 8 Days Exhaustive Cycling Are Not Related to Changes in Physical Performance

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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Purpose: Reaction time has been proposed as a training monitoring tool, but to date, results are equivocal. Therefore, it was investigated whether reaction time can be used as a monitoring tool to establish overreaching. Methods: The study included 30 subjects (11 females and 19 males, age: 40.8 [10.8] years, VO2max: 51.8 [6.3] mL/kg/min) who participated in an 8-day cycling event. The external exercise load increased approximately 900% compared with the preparation period. Performance was measured before and after the event using a maximal incremental cycling test. Subjects with decreased performance after the event were classified as functionally overreached (FOR) and others as acutely fatigued (AF). A choice reaction time test was performed 2 weeks before (pre), 1 week after (post), and 5 weeks after (follow-up), as well as at the start and end of the event. Results: A total of 14 subjects were classified as AF and 14 as FOR (2 subjects were excluded). During the event, reaction time at the end was 68 ms (95% confidence interval, 46–89) faster than at the start. Reaction time post event was 41 ms (95% confidence interval, 12–71) faster than pre event and follow-up was 55 ms faster (95% confidence interval, 26–83). The time by class interaction was not significant during (P = .26) and after (P = .43) the event. Correlations between physical performance and reaction time were not significant (all Ps > .30). Conclusions: No differences in choice reaction time between AF and FOR subjects were observed. It is suggested that choice reaction time is not valid for early detection of overreaching in the field.

ten Haaf, Foster, Daanen, and de Koning are with the Dept of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Behavioral and Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. van Staveren and Koenderman are with the Dept of Respiratory Medicine, Laboratory of Translational Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Iannetta and Piacentini are with the University of Rome “Foro Italico”, Rome, Italy. Roelands, Meeusen, and Piacentini are with the Human Physiology Research Group, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium. Roelands is also with the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders (FWO), Brussels, Belgium. Foster and de Koning are also with the Dept of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, WI, USA.

ten Haaf (tpg.ten.haaf@vu.nl) is corresponding author.
International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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